Darren Bent vs ZOO!

It’s your first Midlands derby this weekend, against Wolves. Fancy a bit of a ding-dong?
Definitely! I’d love to score against our local rivals! I’ve always thrived on these matches where there’s so much riding on them. Not just on the pitch, but for the fans – as it’s bragging rights for them at work or at school until the next derby!

Since joining Villa in January, have there been any weird initiations? Team karaoke, ripped-up clothes or  players sh*tting in your locker…?
Do you know what? I’ve not had to do anything yet, or had anything done to me! I’ve been waiting for it, but I’ve got away with it so far.

Until they read this…
Ha ha. Yeah, maybe! If the Villa boys make me sing, I’ll just freestyle it.

Are you a Matt Cardle – or a Wagner?
I’ve got a horrible singing voice so more of a Wagner! I’m sure they won’t make me sing for long!

How did manager Gerard Houllier persuade you to drop down so many league positions to join?
One thing that struck me when I met him before I signed was that he knew stats about me that even I didn’t know! He’s a manager that players love to play for – he’s a top man who knows so much about the game.

But will moving to Villa keep you in the England team?
There are so many good strikers in and around the England squad that it’s hard to cement a place up front. I’ve scored a lot of goals wherever I’ve been and I’ve started off my Villa career with a few as well, which can only help. It was great to get my second goal for England against Denmark, so hopefully there’ll be many more to follow!

Of course, with Liverpool’s £35m man Andy Carroll on the scene, is it becoming harder for you to get games under Capello?
Getting a starting place for England is tough for anyone. Carroll has really impressed me this season though – and he has the ability to do it. At Newcastle he was a threat against anyone he came up against, so I’m sure he’ll do well at Liverpool.

Did the Torres-Carroll £85m double-deal make your life easier after that £24m move?
Maybe, but big fees are just part and parcel of football nowadays. The prices are out of control, I agree, but I thrive on any pressure and I know my job on the pitch is to score… and I plan to score a lot of goals for Villa!

Although now you’re out of the FA Cup, what’s left to play for?
It’s not been the best of seasons, but it’s so tight in the Premier League at the moment that if we string a few results together, we can firmly be around 6th or 7th in the table. After this season, I can see Villa competing in Europe. We’ve got some quality players at the club and some great prospects knocking on the door of the first team; hopefully soon we can challenge for a Champions League place.

We understand you’re a bit of a tattoo addict, Darren. Is this true?  
Addicted? I don’t know about that! I’ve always liked them though, much to my mum’s annoyance. When I go round hers she’s always like, “Right, you don’t need any more now, you’ve had enough!” I think she’s given up now though.

Which players in the Premier League have the best tatts?

I really like Daniel Agger’s tattoos – have you seen his back (right)? It’s pretty amazing. Though as he’s a trained
tattooist you’d expect him to be well inked! I like the one on Fernando Torres’ leg – it’s pretty cool. Martin Skrtel has a few contenders, too.

Is being tattooed a rite of passage in football now?

It would seem that way. It used to be ear piercings but I think tattoos have definitely taken over. I don’t know why that is, though. It can’t be how it feels because, trust me, getting them done can
hurt like hell!

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